I'm not saying that the 2015 Heisman Trophy race is over because there are always the possibility of injuries, but it sure feels like it's over. LSU sophomore running back Leonard Fournette is clearly the best player in the country and is now your heavy +150 Bovada favorite to win the Heisman.
Fournette might have had a chance to break the FBS single-season record of rushing yards (2,628) set by former Heisman winner Barry Sanders at Oklahoma State -- and nearly broken last year by Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon -- in 1988 if the Tigers' first game of this season hadn't been canceled due to weather. Fournette is averaging 210.3 rushing yards per game, 41 more than the next closest player. Two weeks ago he put up 228 on Auburn and then this past weekend 244 on Syracuse. He is the first LSU back to rush for 200 yards in consecutive games, and four times in his past five games he has set a career high for rushing yards in a game.
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The LSU single-game record is 250 yards by Alley Broussard in 2004. Fournette would have smashed that against the Orange if his 87-yard scoring run wasn't called back due to penalty. The SEC record for rushing yards is 1,891 by Heisman winner Herschel Walker in 1981. I think that's going down. Fournette probably would be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft if he was eligible. Already you are hearing talk he should just take next season off to avoid injury because it wouldn't hurt his stock. Fournette is on pace to rush for 2,524 yards and 32 touchdowns and average 8.64 yards per carry. That would give him SEC records in all three categories, besting Walker's yards; Tim Tebow's and Tre Mason's 23 TDs in 2007 and 2013, respectively; and Nick Chubb's 2014 average of 7.06 yards per rush.
Expect another huge game this week as No. 9 LSU faces a terrible Eastern Michigan program. EMU ranks last in the FBS against the run, allowing 373.3 yards per game and 6.7 yards per carry. LSU opened as a 44.5-point favorite at BetOnline.
Here are a few opening lines that caught my eye.
Texas at No. 4 TCU (-15.5): I picked against the Frogs last week, taking the 8.5 and Texas Tech. And really the Red Raiders should have won the game, but TCU escaped with a 55-52 win in probably the best game of the season thus far. Aaron Green caught a lucky tipped pass in the back of the end zone with 23 seconds left on fourth-and-4 for the win. Texas, meanwhile, learned new ways to blow a seeming win this past weekend against Oklahoma State. Pokes kicker Ben Grogan's game-winning 40-yard field goal came after Texas punter Michael Dickson, an Australian Rules Football player, dropped the deep snap inside the Texas 10 and scrambled to get off a left-footed punt that went only 10 yards. Two Saturdays ago, a different kicker missed an extra point that would have tied the game late against Cal. The Frogs did lose starting receiver Ty Slamina to a broken collarbone against TTU. The pick: Texas (may need to win this game to save Charlie Strong's job).
No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia (-2.5): Well this is big news. It's the first time Alabama has been an underdog since the 2009 SEC Championship Game against Florida, a game the Tide rolled in. Bama has been a favorite in all 72 games since, going 37-34-1 against the spread (62-10 straight up). Arguably Nick Saban's program-changing win at Alabama was against No. 1 Georgia on Sept. 27, 2008, a 41-30 Tide victory. Several former Alabama players have traced the start of the school's dynasty to that win. The pick: Alabama.
No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 25 Florida (-7.5): The Gators are back in the polls for the first time since 2013. And I don't know who Coach Jim McElwain thinks he is kidding, but he has yet to officially announce that redshirt freshman Will Grier will be his starting quarterback against the Rebels. Of course he will. For one, Grier led a crazy comeback win over Tennessee on Saturday. And he has played every minute of the past two games. Harris was suspended for the Tennessee game. Also consider this: Apparently nine Florida players showed up to get their flu shots on Monday ... already having the flu. No word on which nine players. The pick: Ole Miss.
No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 12 Clemson (pick'em): This is where ESPN's College GameDay will be. It's the first time the Irish have visited Clemson since 1977. That day, a guy named Joe Montana led the No. 5 Irish to a 21-17 victory over the No. 15 Tigers, a win that helped propel Notre Dame to the National Championship. I still can't determine if the unbeaten Irish are any good. The combined record of their four opponents is 4-11, with the four wins coming against Rice (Texas), William & Mary (Virginia), Alcorn State and Tulane (both Georgia Tech). But then who knows how good Clemson is. Its three wins are against Wofford, Appalachian State and a 1-3 Louisville team. The pick: I'll take Deshaun (Watson) over DeShone (Kizer).
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